Middle aged bands. How should they dress?

davidr

Senior Member
a bartender once told me always dress one step above the people you are serving.

If they are in flip flops and tank tops, your in shoes and a t-shirt, if they are In shoes and tee shirts you are in a polo shirt, etc.

Last night I played a private party (christmas dinner) with a $75 cover, everybody in the crowd was in formal dresses and dinner jackets. We all wore dress shirts and ties with jackets, of course by the end of the night my tie was around my head like RAMBO, but at least we started out on par with the crowd.

Today I'm playing a toy drive show at a honky tonk bar, It will surely be come as you are, but I will probably wear a western shirt untucked with jeans and nice shoes/boots.

Dressing nice really helps your band to look like a band. It helps you to meet audience expectations, and it shows you take your music seriously. If you show up looking sloppy why should people care what you are doing on stage?

I'm a professional musician so in my situation buying outfits for playing a show is a tax deduction. It's helped me to justify having "show clothes" and get into dressing up.

I had a turning point one time there was pictures of me with the road crew after a big gig. I was wearing a t-shirt, cut off army pants, and doc martens. Honestly you couldn't tell the difference between me and the roadies. I realized then I have to start looking like a musician.
+1. Whenever I have seen a decent band in a bar or small venue, I always know who's in the band before they come onstage because they look bandish (not a word I'm sure). The band should always look like what they are: professionals (however casual the venue, even if you're not being paid your still doing a job), whereas the crowd can look like they don't care. It seems a shame that people in a band can be creative musicians and not with their clothes. Shallow as it sounds, I'd like it if people made the effort all the time so the world looked a bit more creative and just better.
 

baz

Silver Member
Bob,

Almost everyone I know who gigs regularly gave me this advice when I was starting out, and I have to say that I agree with it: you have to be yourself on stage, including dress. It's important for a band to have some cohesive look, some vibe that they give off that visually suggests that they are all together, all united...but it has to be a look that the whole band, or as much of the band as possible, is comfortable with. One of the bands I am in, the one that is my main source of income, is a cover band. Three of us are in our late 20's, but our bass player is 45 and actually looks older. When he joined up, he would wear dress pants, dress shirts, and occasionally a tie. Nice look, but he looked out of place on the stage. When the rest of the band has an image, even if it is just a simple image of "tee shirts and jeans," then you can actually be the one breaking that image by dressing up too much. In this case, YOU may actually be the one who is breaking the image of the band by dressing up when they are going for a relaxed, casual look, whether intentionally or just because that is who they are.

You say: "I always wear black pants and a nice dress shirt on stage with a hat to hide my bald spot. I often wear sunglasses for that cool look...I think that because we are middle aged we should bring our dressing habits up just one notch." In other words, you are wearing what you are comfortable in. You are dealing with your age in a way that you see fit. But then you suggest a "fancy blouse for Beth (perhaps some beads or a neckless just to make her a bit more feminine) and nice shirts for the male members. Kind of like acting more our age so to speak." But maybe that's not how they are comfortable.

By asking the band to all change their image to match yours, you may be asking them to all be uncomfortable, and not be themselves...something that they don't want to do, just as you would be uncomfortable if they asked you to wear leather pants and go shirtless.
...Iam surprised that the suggestion that had the most practical insight comes so far down the page.

I dress for the circumstance, WillieNelson concert tee shirt for country, Tragically Hip, Neil Young,or Great big Sea for all others. Pants are optional. Seriously though, I have never been to a dance, or a concert, or a show where the audience walked out talking about how the band was dressed, but then again I have never seen Gwar live.

Ours is a jeans and tee shirt band. We are also all of us either fifty, or hovering close to it. At this stage, we are more concerned with how we sound rather than how we look. If and when circumstance dictate, I am sure we would reevaluate our stage wear. If or when that time comes, I am perfectly willing to upgrade, maybe to a Moody Blues, or Bob Dylan tee shirt.

Barry
 

nocTurnal

Senior Member
Seriously though, I have never been to a dance, or a concert, or a show where the audience walked out talking about how the band was dressed [...]
That's because it's something people think about on the sub-conscious level. You don't think people would take notice if the band U2 wore oversized clothing, horizontally striped sweaters, grandad jeans and white sneakers? Those guys dress really well and it adds to their rock 'n roll band image. They are also a very well organized band. I saw a 60 minutes segment on them once. They really have things together which is why they've remained a band for so long. I think their hard efforts in everything they do carries over into their great sense of style.

Ours is a jeans and tee shirt band. We are also all of us either fifty, or hovering close to it. At this stage, we are more concerned with how we sound rather than how we look. If and when circumstance dictate, I am sure we would reevaluate our stage wear. If or when that time comes, I am perfectly willing to upgrade, maybe to a Moody Blues, or Bob Dylan tee shirt.
No one is saying that style is more important than the music. That sounds like a defensive statement, even if you didn't intend for it to sound that way. People get VERY defensive when anyone says anything about the clothing they wear. BTW, no one is saying you have to run out and buy Armani dress suits and ties. Jeans and Tees (graphic) are fine. It's how it fits and looks that matters. For some reason, us American guys like to wear T-shirts that hang down to our crotch area. That's okay for the hip-hoppers, but not for us mostly rock/jazz folk here.
 
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audiotech

Guest
To me this is a very easy question to answer. Dress for the venue, but always look profession. I'm 57, and that's the rule I always strive for. When I'm practicing or just in my personal studio, it's usually sweats or jeans, but when I'm in a commercial studio or on stage, it's anything from Dockers to tux, again it all depends on the venue. Some would be really surprised just how much the combination of a great sounding band and the look of being professional go hand in hand with landing the job and getting many return engagements.

Dennis
 

baz

Silver Member
No one is saying that style is more important than the music. That sounds like a defensive statement, even if you didn't intend for it to sound that way. People get VERY defensive when anyone says anything about the clothing they wear. BTW, no one is saying you have to run out and buy Armani dress suits and ties. Jeans and Tees (graphic) are fine. It's how it fits and looks that matters. For some reason, us American guys like to wear T-shirts that hang down to our crotch area. That's okay for the hip-hoppers, but not for us mostly rock/jazz folk here.
...I am a fifty year old married man.

All I need to know about fashion is to not wear anything that makes my wife ask "are you wearing that!"

Barry
 

ace76543

Senior Member
don't dress (not that way, that would be horrific). just wear whatever. don't think about it. middle aged people shouldn't care how they dress, they're too old for that.
 
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wy yung

Guest
don't dress (not that way, that would be horrific). just wear whatever. don't think about it. middle aged people shouldn't care how they dress, they're too old for that.
I think we were just given the finger.
 

ace76543

Senior Member
I think we were just given the finger.
no. not really. i'm saying you shouldn't care about how you dress. you've grown out of the vain bs we call "fashion"; at least, most of the middle aged people i know have. i actually think that's quite a compliment. how is that giving you the finger?
 
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wy yung

Guest
no. not really. i'm saying you shouldn't care about how you dress. you've grown out of the vain bs we call "fashion"; at least, most of the middle aged people i know have. i actually think that's quite a compliment. how is that giving you the finger?

Don't worry. We in the shop had a laugh.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
What everyone says is right.

Yes, it depends on the venue. Yes, you need to be comfortable. Yes, looking good adds to the audience experience. Yes, it helps to have a look that suits the music so the whole package is cohesive. Yes, the music matters more than the look. Yes, some people like to stay in their comfort zone.

And yes, old people would do well to avoid being mutton dressed as lamb :)
 

bonzolead

Platinum Member
I've been on a diet lately it's called..........."Put on a Black Shirt" LOL

Seriously,
it either jeans & a T-shirt or a button up shirt. I sweat a lot when I play so I like too be cool.

Bonzolead
 
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mcbike

Silver Member
Right after I made my post and went to my gig looking pretty good. Black western shirt, cordoroys, black clarks. I am so glad I was looking professional. It turned out Chad Wackerman was at the gig because he was playing later on that night with Allan Holdsworth. You NEVER know who is going to be in the crowd.

I always remind myself of this when I'm gigging in austin. There are alot of great musicians walking around at night and you never know who is going to pop their head in.
 

jon e rotten

Senior Member
The day someone starts telling me how to dress is the day I pack up and leave.......not really , but come on. I just went and saw the killers....the singer is dressed in all black with feathers on and the drummer has a plain white t shirt on....it doesn't matter unless you're playing some formal event and then commen sense should take over.
 

sqadan

Senior Member
Why you speak from experience Snuggie-Boy? you do don't you LOL

Bonzolead
Yeah man! My wife and both my kids have the damn things... My wife bought them just to irritate me.

They might make funny but impractical stage attire though.
 

bonzolead

Platinum Member
Yeah man! My wife and both my kids have the damn things... My wife bought them just to irritate me.

They might make funny but impractical stage attire though.
That's too funny they probably get pretty hot on-stage would probably have to have a white one LOL

Don't. feel bad my wife has one surprised the dog don't. have one LOL oh Mr. Snuggie whoever he may be is getting paid for sure.

Bonzolead
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
I think you should all wear Snuggies.
Ideal for the ageing band, especially balding males - you'd have the Friar Tuck look.

Agree that it's hard to go wrong wearing black. I have a black beaded top for dressy gigs. Regular street clothes for casual gigs.
 
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